Leadership limbo

When Gordon Campbell was in opposition, he laid out a complete plan of what he wanted to do when he became premier.

When Gordon Campbell was in opposition, he laid out a complete plan of what he wanted to do when he became premier.

It was laid out in a nice glossy document for all to read. After that, they could rejoice or revile.

When Mike Harcourt was in opposition, he did the same thing (although it wasn’t quite as glossy as Campbell’s). Harcourt’s plan was even numbered with specific things he wanted to accomplish when he became premier.

While different in style and philosophy, both were vision statements. Both were strategic views where they wanted to take the province and how they wanted to shape beautiful B.C.

Both were leadership documents giving their respective party MLAs and, consequently, the public an idea of where we might head … something for us to collectively follow. Now, with both parties having embarked on leadership quests, we have yet to see anything inspiring, from either camp.

The Liberal hopefuls think they’re on an election campaign, rather than a leadership race. They seem to want to out-do each other with nice catchy announcements. Christy Clark wants a holiday in February. Yay. George Abbott wants to have a referendum on the carbon tax. Yay. Mike de Jong wants to lower the voting age to 16. Yay. Kevin Falcon wants to have an office in Prince George. Yay. Moira Stillwell wants a mountain rescue centre in Revelstoke. Yay. These are all things that government, as a whole, should consider, debate, and vote on. They are not a plan for the province as a whole. They are not what leadership is about. Leadership is about setting the tone and direction for debate. It’s not about who can come up with the most popular one-off announcements. As for the New Democrats, their leadership campaign is just getting going so time will tell whether an actual leader with vision will emerge. Harry Lali wanting to represent middle-age white guys makes a point, but is more comic than visionary.

The only one from the NDP camp who has made any kind of visionary statements, ironically, got booted out. Bob Simpson, in penning a response to his expulsion from caucus, spoke eloquently about what is currently wrong with government, the party system, and what needs to change.

With British Columbians growing increasing disillusioned with government and politicians, Simpson is the only one who says what needs to be addressed. One of the shortcomings of our political system is that it works well for politicians but not so well for the general public.

None of the leadership hopefuls, from either party, have talked about changing that. We’re waiting for another such leader to emerge.